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Wasteland 1 and that Old-School Skill Set Symphony

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Chris Avellone

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I started playing Wasteland 1 near the end of Kickstarter to get back into the Wasteland mindset. I'm still loving it just as much as I did back in high school.

 

One thing I wanted to vent about concerning old-school RPGs like Eternal Dagger, Wizard

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Really interesting post! :)

 

This is a n00b question but - are all 4 characters you created considered PCs, so dialog between the 4 of them would not happen? Could NPCs join your party?

 

Also, Fallout 1 & 2 used the same type of skill and stat system, didn't it?

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Interesting (and charmingly dorky) stuff.

 

I took a much more utilitarian approach to my first playthrough of Wasteland to be honest. I've never really approached videogames this way, I'd more often than not end up too constrained by the dialogue and choices given to me by the developers to enjoy this playstyle. I guess that's why it's possible with the original Wasteland though, since you have to fill so many gaps by yourself and your dialogue options just give vague description of what your character is going to say ("Buy" "sell" etc.)

 

What I'm more interested in, though, is the skill system. Wasteland had undoubtedly some problems with it: it offers too many unbalanced/useless skills and often doesn't explain itself about the intended progression (esp. combat skills are p. bad with that). However, I felt it was mitigated by the fact that you'd really only be picking one point in most of them and they'd grow organically with usage, which I feel is one of the best compromises between learn-by-use and point-based systems I've seen in my gaming "career".

 

Not so sure I enjoy rolling stats though, it's a system that I never particularly enjoyed in pen and paper, and even less in videogames where I'd just end up rerolling until I got optimal stats. Then again, that just might be because I was rolling my characters with an utilitarian approach, rather than with the idea of roleplaying them (and they still all ended up dead so I had to roll another party while Jackie slowly tracked back with their corpses to the ranger HQ).

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Refreshing to see this kind of thought going into party creation, and also recognizing flaws in character build but accepting them as part of the character, and not something that needs fixing. So different than the min-max'ing type of players.

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hm. I have trouble doing what you do--composing a character's narrative internally, without a game's having the systems to back it up. I mean, in a tabletop setting I could handle it, because the GM could just make whatever little situational alterations would be necessary for me to be a faulty android. and I guess maybe in a non-dialoguetree game like Wasteland it's a little easier to visualize, 'cause people aren't reacting to you as interactively as they are in, say, Fallout. but I think in a game with dialogue options and tailored replies it becomes a lot harder to sort of fly with your characters in your own mind. it's part of the reason they didn't include wookies and other stranger species as PC options in Old Republic, right? you get to a situation where people wouldn't be reacting to you in the same way, and you're not quite sure what to make of the fact that the Sith is just totally cool with elevating an ithorian to the Sith Concil or whatever.

 

as to cryptic skills--well. I'm a pragmatist in that respect, and I hate missing out on things just 'cause I didn't know about them. it's certainly cool to have the hidden **** you come across tucked away in the stranger corners of the wastes and then have that hidden **** turn out to have some value to you later, but there's the ROI question--how many players will just never hear about it?

 

still, maybe this is just a case of these things being handled heavy-handedly by a gaming industry two decades and more younger than ours is today, and maybe that kind of cryptitude can be handled better by keen and cunning men of good faith now than it was then. I'm eager to find out, for sure, and I almost think I'd rather see it tried and done imperfectly than have it omitted from the start.

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I love this. I do it all the time. Choices let you create your own characters and that is what RPG is all about for me.

 

I think you are the only person to admit to having played Wizard's Crown and Eternal Dagger. I played both of those myself and really enjoyed them.

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